Kia Gets Jiggy With Social Hamster Campaign

Kia Motors America is taking the hamsters social. The company, which has been promoting its Soul five-door, is doing an online video contest, "Who's Next?" to find what the company is calling "The next big internet star." The contest is aligned with the Black Sheep music video campaign for Soul in which hip hop hamsters sing "You can get with this, or you can get with that" comparing the virtues of the Soul vehicle with rolling appliances. Participants have to create their own video that use the Kia Soul as a thematic idea, and the tag, "A new way to roll." The contest runs through the end of September, with the top two finalists going on Kia's dime to Los Angeles for the announcement of the grand prize winner, who will receive a $10,000 prize. Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "Social media is an important part of the marketing strategy for Soul and engaging passionate enthusiasts in this space creates additional opportunities to build buzz through a new, interactive experience." The company is promoting with roadblock buys on sites like Yahoo! with interactive ads that launched today, in which a toaster driven by a hamster rolls across the screen from the banner ad, then the Soul rolls back into the ad from off-screen left. Also featured in the web ads are judges who became celebrity on platforms like YouTube. After the judges, including Smosh, ShayCarl and Lisa Nova who will judge the top eight submissions. Those eight then go into a three-round voting process chosen by viewers. Kia will post all of the videos through the Kia Soul YouTube channel YouTube.com/kiasoul, and YouTube comedy celebs Smosh and ShayCarl, as well as Lisa Nova will promote the site. The company says that the three Web celebs have more than 640 million video views combined and 2.62 million subscribers collectively on their online channels.